Right before Isobel turned four she became fascinated with all the things big kids get to do and relished in the fact that she would soon be a big kid herself and thus able to do some of the more dangerous activities that little girls were barred from.
“Will I be able to play in the street when I’m four? Can I use a knife when I’m four? Can I use the stove and cook for real?Can I drive a car when I’m four, Mama? Can I say ‘shut up’ when I’m four?”
To stem the tide of infinite questions I decided we need to find something that she could do to focus on. I wanted to be able to say yes to something. Something that wouldn’t put her life in danger but that she would still enjoy.
Since we’re cooking together at some point of each day we decided a happy compromise would be that I would teach her how to use a mezza luna when she turned four. (I’m actually selling a lovelier version than the one I have in my shop; I wonder, if I bought one from myself, would I still receive a percentage?)
Mezza luna means “half moon” in Italian, and if you look at the blade you can see why. You use it by gripping the two handles and rocking it back and forth over herbs or tortillas or what have you. It’s sharp enough for the job, but not very sharp at all, and Isobel could not easily injure herself, even if she were to touch the blade. It was ideal.
She was so, so excited to do this, that we even made a special trip to the store just for parsley so she could do this. Funnily enough, whomever put this bunch of parsley together also added a sprig of cilantro and two different types of weeds, which Isobel correctly identified immediately.
This was a really fun activity and she was so proud to add her parsley to the top of that night’s dinner. Now if I need to give her some occupation while she plays next to me in the kitchen, I can give her this, and she can feel like she’s contributing.